WRC 7 Review – On the Right Track

By: Louis Edwards
 

WRC 7: FIA World Rally Championship has been unleashed upon the world. Should you prepare to hit the track, or is it best left in the pits?

Read on to find out

The World Rally Championship series of video games has come a long ways since it was originally licensed to Sony back in 2001, making studio stops a long the way with Evolution Studios, Black Bean Games, Milestone, and now Big Ben Interactive’s Kylotonn. Big Ben picked up the license with WRC 5 and developer Kylotonn has made incremental improvements with each release. Last year’s release of WRC 6 received lukewarm reviews but was a step in the right direction. WRC 7 continues that journey and again makes some nice improvements.

The last few months has brought us quite a few driving games to play, and the genre covers the globe in racing locations and surface types. There’s F1 2017, NASCAR Heat 2, and Project Cars 2 (currently in the review process) to name a few.  The realism in today’s games shows how impressive the technology has become, and most of these racing games tap into that technology well and WRC 7 joins in on the fun.

One of the improvements over WRC 6 is the handling of the cars, depending on their current physical repair status of course. We very seldom use a controller for driving games, but for review purposes we will try the game out both with a regular controller and with our Thrustmaster T150 steering wheel setup using the Wheel Stand Pro. Either way you play, the controls for the game are pretty responsive and an improvement over previous releases. The force feedback on the T150 really gave us a nice feel for the track and had us gripping the wheel tightly.

Whether we were driving in snow, gravel, or on asphalt, the car handled nicely and depending on your difficulty settings, gave the game a nice feel of realism when using the wheel. Even with a controller the game was fun to drive and play, but felt more like an arcade game than a simulator. That is to be expected with a regular controller and we only played for a few hours that way. For us the game really shined when we were driving along with the wheel setup, but is still great both ways.

The graphics for the game are good. At high speeds, which you may not achieve very often in a rally game, the game still looked ok. There really wasn’t much improvement over WRC 6 in that area, but it is by no means a bad looking game. The car models look great, with a wide variety of make, models, and liveries to choose from. The environments are nicely detailed, with ruts in the snow and dirt being able to change the direction of your car if you let them. The folks on the sidelines don’t seem to care, though, and have seemingly no fear as you zip deathly close to them and/or their vehicles. A little interaction by them would be a nice touch, maybe having them jump back if you get too close, or dive out of the way if you hit a rail near them.

The game starts out by giving you a driver’s test in order to evaluate your driving level and then recommend settings based on your results. The Rally de Portugal is a nice introductory rally course with varying twists and turns but can be a little challenging for those that are new to the genre. One of the things that needs to be looked at is the 9 second time penalty you’ll get everytime you need the car reset to a track. Regardless of how far off the road you may veer, the penalty is always the same. The game should take a few things into account and then determine the penalty and not just arbitrarily dock you 9 seconds for even just a slight off-the-track experience.

This being the official game of the FIA World Rally Championship, every team, car, and driver can be found in the game, along with all of the tracks. The amount of content is pretty impressive and the recreation of each car is spot on. When you join a team in career mode, you’ll get to use your own name as well, and seeing that on the side of one of these cars is a real nice touch. The cars range from peppy little Fiestas up to some decently powered vehicles that will test your skills.

For rally enthusiasts, this game is a must-have title as it is the best rally racer around. If you aren’t into rally racers, you’ll probably want to find a genre that better fits your needs.

7


WRC 7: FIA World Rally Championship review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.